What are the main arguments of the Beck’s theory of risk?
Manufactured risks, on the other hand, are caused by humans and technology, such as nuclear accidents, and environmental pollution. Beck’s thesis of risk society is supported by three arguments, the first one being the changes risk has undergone in the context of time and space. In the past, natural hazards were more easily controlled and were confined to space and time, whereas manufactured risks are mobile and not restricted by time. The second argument to support the concept of a risk society describes how manufactured risks have become increasingly destructive. Beck bases this argument mainly on the factors of nuclear power, environmental issues and genetic technology, and how risks within these areas could easily destroy societies. The third key element to support this thesis illustrates the failure of safety and security, a challenging predicament in which individuals have no choice but to rely upon social institutions to deal with consequences of risks, however, institutions are no longer capable of doing so.
The main processes to drive society towards a risk society are Individualization and risk distribution. Changes in individualisation are due to societal changes regarding traditions, in which traditional roles can be taken on, but are often changed or adapted. This has led to risk becoming an individual experience, and with no homogenized group to be held accountable for risks, it causes reflective awareness of global issues. Another process that contributes to the emergence of risk society is the distribution of risk, in which risks or ‘social bads’ get distributed alongside social goods. Consequences of human production have transformed, and worsened risks and these issues cannot be solved by simply changing production redistribution. Instead, they require rethinking every current process and institution.